Boy the dice are certainly loaded against the most vulnerable in our society!

I hear on the news that motions are in progress to make it even harder to smoke cigarettes in public places. I see hospital patients with I.V. devices dangling behind, out on the streets, barely dressed to combat below zero weather, desperately imbibing the chemicals that their bodies are dependent upon. In other places smokers surreptitiously imbibe where fires can easily break out.

Cigarettes are still legal so smokers can maintain their habit but the price of a pack has risen sky-high to where they must give up on necessities. It is particularly hard on those with a chemical imbalance of the brain; those whose daily medications include the nicotine and tar that they have inhaled for years.

One mental health patient I knew who was on a disability pension, had composed a shopping list itemizing only two things: tobacco (for rolling his cigarettes) and coffee.

My son who has schizophrenia once tried to give up smoking. He lay in his bed with a bag of candy that he hoped would help with the craving. Sometime later his body became comatose and he was unable to get up until I arrived with a lit cigarette. He had been on a medication for relieving his psychosis, but the dosage had become dependent on certain corresponding chemicals in tobacco.

And the irony of it all – in my mind at least – is that smoking marijuana whose advocates including our own prime minister, believe is as beguine as mother’s milk, is on the verge of being legalized. And there is such a thing as “medical marijuana” grow-ups. We know that marijuana has some wonderful health attributes, but I also know that in my son’s case (and in many other patients’ cases) it was the smoking of marijuana that created his horrendous mental health issues in the first place.

Medical Marijuana?? Why not Medical Tobacco for those whose brain chemicals have become accustomed to components in tobacco that help keep their symptoms under control and which they can ill afford to buy and are barred from imbibing in so many public places??

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